Posted on Feb 2, 2016
SGT Squad Leader
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As Leaders, I want to know how this "New Army" shenanigans has affected you.. and let me apologize if im not using the correct term, affected, or effected, though im sure it is affected.

On to the moral of this matter, how has this changed how your subordinates acted towards you as a leader?

Let me start by saying I am a new Sergeant. Coming up through my 7 years of service, i have been physically disciplined through "smoke sessions". I ask because I recently had a PFC to say something out of the way to me. The PFC and I were talking business, he is a SAMS clerk, we were discussing vehicles out for repairs. He remained seated while speaking, which of course I dont mind, but then 1SG entered the room, and spoke to the PFC. He continued sitting in his response. This is a new 1SG so it was not a situation of the PFC knowing him and that the 1SG was fine with him relaxing. Anyway, when the 1SG entered the room, I explained to the PFC that he is to stand at parade rest when speaking to the 1SG l, especially one we did not know yet. He mouthed a little. I then asked if he was on a profile in which he responded yes. I then asked if he had the paper and if it prevented him from doing cherry pickers. He then said to me, and I quote, "Sergeant, this is the New Army, smoking is not allowed anymore, thats what paperwork is for." This guy is a long time PFC with no chance of promotion anytime soon.

How would you handle this? Anyine have similar stories, and what was the outcome?
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MSG Military Police
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SGT, smoke sessions have never been officially authorized, the correct term is corrective action through physical exercise (CAPE) this can be referenced within FM 7-22 of the Phisycal Readiness Training Manual, in which you will find 10 authorized exercises. Although this scenario would have made me upset, it really doesn't merit the PT. The most appropriate corrective action you could have taken is that you start by "not minding" the soldier standing at parade rest for "you" , explaining proper customs and courtesies and to remind this individual of his position and where he works at. He clearly is not your soldier, but there is this nice thing called NCOs general military authority in which you could have returned with a DA 4856 stating disrespect towards you and the 1SG (for flapping his gums ) and then give it to him IN FRONT of his first line leader, mainly to show whomever is his boss that someone has to correct his soldier, this may upset his boss too. Then in the corrective action you have many options, from company level classes, to essays etc. You would be surprised at how many Soldiers would prefer to get "smoked" rather than build a presentations and deliver it to an entire company. Once you counsel and he possibly refuses to sign as a result of some bogus barracks lawyer answer, you will then proceed to still give him the timeline for his class, once he doesn't deliver ( due to sick call, random appointment etc) you type another counseling stating soldier failed to perform corrective training, inform his first line leader, let the 1SG know and then you wil see the magic happen. Bottom line is this, YOU ARE AN NCO ENFORCE THE STANDARDS!!, the "don't mind" was your first mistake which would have prevented you from even having to listen to that soldier even talk back to you. The Army is the same it had not changed, what changes is the people that come in and those that are SCARED TO MAKE CORRECTIONS!. I hope this helps, have a great day counseling that guy.
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SFC James Welch
SFC James Welch
>1 y
As a Retired NCO I know I’ve been out for a long time now but I find the Warrant Officer’s conduct unbelievable. The need for and the execution of discipline is as old as the Service itself. The decline of Leadership reflects the decline of individuals available for service. When I came in in 1966, the NCO and Officer Corps were a different breed that those of my year group. My First, First Sargent was a tall, slim Kentuckian that could melt ice with a look. His mere presence was enough to instill fear in the heart of ANYONE! A bit of fear is still needed to promote good discipline and esprit deCorps!
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SGT Jeff Ryan
SGT Jeff Ryan
8 mo
Excellent.
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SSG Daniel Brewster
SSG Daniel Brewster
8 mo
I’ve been out of the army for 26 years now, so forgive that funny sound you just heard. It was my jaw dropping and hitting the floor. An essay or a Powerpoint is suitable corrective action these days? Good Lord, seriously? I feel like I’m living in an episode of The Simpson’s. Why not have PFC Snuffy write “I will come to parade rest when a non-commissioner officer enters the room” on the blackboard 100 times? Lol.
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SGT Healthcare Specialist (Combat Medic)
SGT (Join to see)
3 mo
Yep, big sar’nt. As an NCO, you have ‘arrest authority’. Take away their free time works best. My soldiers loved me. Have them hold their military ID out in front of them for 45 mins. while you go to the motor pool. They think it’s funny for a minute, then it sucks. You accomplish the discipline and readiness at the same time. Also buys you more time to accomplish your tasks. Problem solved...
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WO1 Humint Technician
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Allow me to explain my thoughts on this. Every generation of Army talks about the old generation of Army. When I joined the Army people were complaining about the "new" Army, having been in during Desert Storm. Now we talk about the "new" Army comparing it to the "old" Army of when I joined.

Listen, the old Army sucked, and 20 years from now hopefully this Army will have sucked as well (we should always be looking to improve our organization). I don't mean to beat a dead horse here, but I joined the Army when it was ok to sexually assault each other, haze each other, berate each other publicly, and generally treat people/Soldiers like garbage.

Which is why, since I became an NCO in 2003, I never once made a Soldier do pushup or "smoke" them. It's unnecessary and frankly in most cases unprofessional and has nothing to do with the offense committed. Any leadership manual you read, military or civilian, clearly indicates that you need to treat people like humans to get ahead. However, for some reason, we look back nostalgically on some fairly ridiculous behavior that we used to (and sometimes still do) engage in.

It doesn't build morale or camaraderie, it builds distrust and resentment.

And Soldiers ask questions and "why" now. So what. Again, take to leadership manuals (especially corporate or business ones) and you will see that motivation is higher when you take the time to explain the impacts of a mission and why it is important. If you need another example, talk to someone in a support role, such as anything from a welder to intel. Explain to them why their welding of this or that is important and how it allows you to fight their mission, or how that intel specifically saved someone (or how we could improve the support to address a failure) and watch their eyes light up and give them motivation.

I also don't miss the time in the Army when I rolled to OIF I in Vietnam-era flak vests because we had no money. And we might get back to that point, but we aren't there now.

And for people that say the "new" Army promoted people too fast making bad leaders - whose fault is that? That's right, the people of the "old" Army. Because we recommended them, promoted them, and sat on centralized promotion boards and promoted them again.

I also enjoy that NCOs of today's Army are far more educated statistically speaking than NCOs of the past.

Some decisions in the military I don't agree with. But that's the ebb and flow of any organization.

So how has it affected me? It really hasn't.

I respond by asking you this question - how would doing cherry pickers help rectify the situation you described above, besides potentially embarrassing the Soldier publicly? People scoff at essays and similar punishments, but the value of forcing a Soldier to dig into a regulation 1) teaches them why they are wrong on a particular situation, 2) introduces them to the long-term fix of looking up your questions, and 3) avoids silly public and useless punishment (which is really against the intent anyway as it says punishment should address the infraction).

If I was your First Sergeant, you and your Platoon Sergeant would be explaining to me the value of having a Soldier do cherry pickers instead of something that is more in line with the Army's intent and useful.

Being a leader is being adaptive. Smoking Soldiers for no reason may have been acceptable 15 years ago, but it's not now. If leaders can't handle the change in environment, they need to get out. This is the same for leaders who are in a new MOS but "grew up in combat arms." If you can't change your mentality, get out. I too was a combat arms NCO and switched to intel. If you can't handle that change, you aren't a leader.
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COL William Oseles
COL William Oseles
8 mo
The best example I can remember of the "Old Army" is a matter of perception.
in 1985 as a young Capitan my wife and I were babysitting for the S-3 so he and his wife could go to a function. His son kept talking about the olden days, he was all about 5 years old. My wife finally asked hem when the "Olden Days was" and he replies 'In the 70s'.
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COL William Oseles
COL William Oseles
8 mo
COL William Oseles - OBTW, I was in the Army then too as a even younger Enlisted.
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PO2 Nick Burke
PO2 Nick Burke
3 mo
So you still haven't answered how you would immediately handle the disrespect
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COL Jerold Wood
COL Jerold Wood
3 mo
Its has NEVER been ok in our Army to "sexually assault" each other!
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SGT Ben Keen
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Maybe it is because I've been removed from the Army for so long or maybe it is me just being dumb but where does this notion of a "New Army" come from? During my brief 8.5 years on Active Duty, I kept hearing that phrase over and over again. "It's a new Army..." But is it really a new Army or are leaders forgetting the basics. Why didn't someone call for At Ease when the 1SG entered the office? That would have gotten the SM up and off his seat. So is it really a "New Army" or are we as leaders, making it "new" by not upholding the standards until challenged to do so?
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CPL Karl Runcik
CPL Karl Runcik
>1 y
If the pfc was stationed at s1 or 2 then he was right not to stand, rally point seems nothing to me than a bitch fest, I went through a lot of trouble to get authorization to read posts from here and as of yet I haven't found one with a damn
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CSM Clifford Fargason
CSM Clifford Fargason
>1 y
SGT Chris Holzman - If I entered a room where an officer was present and someone called At Ease we would be having a conversation about military rank and precedence.
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PVT Raymond Lopez
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SSG Lance Wendling
SSG Lance Wendling
>1 y
The highest ranking NCO calls the room to "at ease" if a higher ranking NCO comes in, or "room, attention" if an officer comes in.
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